Last night, at Bellator 113 in Kansas City, interim Light Heavyweight Champion Emanuel Newton unified the titles by beating formal titleholder Atilla Vegh via Split Decision. It was a grinding stand up fight for the most part, with few take-downs leading to prolonged ground-fighting. Though the crowd was restlessly booing at times, both men were engaged in a very even battle that saw Newton come forward aggressively most of he time leaving Vegh to counterstrike and pick his spots. This is the second split decision between the two men, as they are now 1-1 and are both very evenly matched.
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Though nothing has been decided between the two, a third bout is likely to wait. Both men will have to continue winning, with Vegh likely heading back into the season 11 tournament at this point, similar to former Heavyweight Champion Alexander Volkov. Vegh showed precise striking and decent take-down defense, but the spanish broadcast announcers noted he lacked the urgency needed to retain a title. He will be a tough out in the season 11 tourney however.
Newton gets the winner of King mo versus Quinton Jackson next, it is that simple. Should King Mo beat ‘Rampage’ on the May PPV, Newton will be asked to dance with Lawal a third time. The more likely scenario is that Newton will face ‘Rampage’, and you can be sure that this is the match Bellator wants.
Newton has proven to be a solid competitor and a hard worker. He reminds me of Keith Jardine when Keith was at his best, in that his striking and movement are similar. He also has a chin, as Newton got cut, and he got hit with plenty of decent shots, but he never stopped coming forward, which obviously pleased at least two of the judges.
Newton should take some time off and rest and enjoy his victory. The coming match with Jackson will be huge for him, and he will need to find another level to retain that belt.